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Presiding Officer

Details of the job

Post title: Presiding Officer
Hours: Variable
Location: ;Various locations within WNC District
Reports to: Polling Station Inspector / Elections Manager
Service area: Electoral Services – Corporate Services
Mileage Allowance: Yes

Purpose of the job

The role of the polling station staff is to ensure that voters are able to cast their vote in secret, free 
from influence and in a calm atmosphere. Polling Stations are open from 7 am until 10 pm.

On polling day, staff are required to arrive at the polling station sufficiently early to set up the equipment in time for opening. In order to maintain the secrecy of the vote and safeguard the integrity of the process, staff should not leave the premises during polling hours. Presiding Officers will also have responsibility for supervising the work of the Poll Clerk(s)

Please note, to apply for this post you must have access to a vehicle (that has the appropriate level of business insurance cover) and a full driving licence. 

Main accountabilities

Before polling day

  • Attend and complete any training session and briefing provided by the Electoral Services office
  • Visit the polling station to ensure polling day arrangements are in place
  • Liaise with the key holder and plan for the opening and closing of your polling building. You should also visit your polling station in advance to ensure polling day arrangements are in place
  • Contact your poll clerk(s), and any other Presiding Officer(s) appointed to the same polling place, at least a week before Polling Day
  • Collect your ballot box(es) and equipment before polling day at your allocated time slot
  • Ensure safekeeping of ballot box, ballot papers and associated equipment until polling day, in a secure environment

Polling day

  • Transport ballot box and contents to polling station. Responsible for the conduct of the ballot in the polling station
  • Responsible for setting up your polling stations and leaving the building in a neat and secure state
  • Responsible for the management of your polling staff, assigning work to the polling station staff and ensuring that the correct procedure for voting is followed
  • Ensure your polling stations open and close at the required times
  • Ensuring the accurate delivery of the poll and account for all ballot papers
  • Ensuring that voter identification is asked for and checked before ballot papers are issued
  • Ensuring electors understand the new voter identification requirements including what constitutes an acceptable form of ID
  • Ensuring electors are able to present their ID in private when requested
  • Responsible for refusing a voter a ballot paper where no ID is presented; or you do not consider the ID to be a good likeness; or consider it to be a forgery
  • Completion of the Ballot Paper Refusal list and the Voter ID Evaluation form
  • Ensure that the polling station remains accessible to all voters. Supporting and aiding voters with disabilities. You may be required to highlight the use of special equipment or devices
  • Comply with any instructions from the Returning Officer and their staff
  • Deal with members of the public in a helpful, polite, and professional manner
  • You must always ensure the secrecy and security of the ballot

Close of Poll

  • Delivering the ballot box and all other equipment and sundries to the count venue promptly after the close of poll
  • Completion of the ballot paper account and all other paperwork, including the ballot paper refusal list and voter ID evaluation form
  • Supervise the dismantling of the polling station and ensure the building is returned to the condition it was found
  • Account for all ballot papers, issued and un-issued

Further information

ou will be working a 16-hour day, as a result you will be required to sign the Working Time Directive waiver for the period of employment. Polling station staff are not permitted to leave the premises during hours of poll so you must provide your own refreshments.

You may be required to perform additional duties not listed above which are appropriate and commensurate to your role and experience, ensuring the smooth running of the election process. Job descriptions can be amended at the organisations discretion to ensure service needs are met. 

All staff will be required to sign an agreement to maintain the secrecy of the poll.

The Returning Officer is not permitted to employ anyone who is/or has carried out duties on behalf of any political party or candidate at the election.

Person specification

Knowledge, qualifications and experience

  • Experience in different types of elections such as Parliamentary, Local and/or PPFC would be desirable
  • A basic understanding of the election process
  • To have worked previously as a Poll Clerk on at least two occasions

Skills and abilities

  • Ability to manage a small team of Polling Station staff and take overall charge of the Polling Station throughout the duration of the poll
  • Excellent communication skills and the ability to explain procedures tailored to a variety of people
  • High level of personal presentation and professional manner
  • Good administration skills, attention detail and an ability to follow strict instructions
  • A team player with a flexible attitude who has the ability to work calmly under pressure
  • Professional and politically neutral manner
  • Punctual and reliable
  • Previous experience of team management would be considered an advantage in this role
  • Ability to lift polling booths/ballot boxes during the set up/dismantling of the station, whilst following manual handling techniques


  • Must not have worked in support of a political party and/or candidate at the election, whether paid or unpaid. Poll Clerks must also refrain from signing any candidate’s nomination papers for this election or standing as a candidate themselves
  • Must be able to attend and successfully complete the mandatory training session before the day of the poll
  • Must not have been convicted of an offence under Electoral Legislation
  • Acceptance of Waiving of Working Time Directive for period of employment
  • Use of a car for this post is an essential criterion. You must have access to a vehicle that can securely carry two or more ballot boxes and potentially some ballot booths (dependent on the polling station venue). Vehicle must be appropriately insured
  • Be aged 18 years or over
  • Must be able to provide evidence of Right to Work in the UK prior to commencement of employment

Last updated 03 April 2023